Scrappy’s Story – Part 1: Descent

I’ve posted about Scrappy several times already. He’s also often called Scrap, Scrapper, Scrapper-Doodle. He’s been my permanent foster for almost a year now. It’s time to tell his story.

He wasn’t supposed to stay with me permanently. I bring dogs over from the Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and give them some time to heal emotionally and get a little training along the way so they can be adopted. I really don’t do much except give them a safe place with some rules and structure. This allows them to get back on track and become the dogs they were meant to be. Or close enough. Scrappy’s continued presence here means that I have not been completely successful in helping him. Allow me to explain.

You just can’t help noticing Scrappy’s eyes.

Scrappy came to Homeward Bound after his owners took him to a shelter to have him euthanized. He was just 2 or 3 years old but they claimed he had a shoulder condition for which their vet could only suggest supplements. Alarm bells went off with the shelter staff so their vet gave Scrappy an examination. They found a minor injury in his leg that had healed. There was no medical reason to euthanize him. He ended up at Homeward Bound because the shelter staff thought he might be a Golden Retriever/Lab mix. I think Beagle/Lab is more likely but it doesn’t matter. I am just grateful he made it here.

All of the photos in this post were taken after he came to my house.

I don’t remember much about Scrappy when he first arrived. I know he was popular with many of the dog walkers. He didn’t seem to have any issues. He was evaluated and eventually adopted by a family that loved him. I probably didn’t think much about him after that but Scrappy and I were destined to become better acquainted.

Scrappy did relax at times as shown in this photo.

Like most rescue organizations, we try very hard to match the right dog to the right family. We don’t always succeed, of course. Scrapy left as a happy and seemingly well-balanced dog but he came back with a dark side that showed itself at inopportune moments. He would lunge at strangers, especially children. He was no longer friendly with other dogs. He was suspicious of anything new in his environment, and he even decided that one of the gardeners was his mortal enemy

What cruel torments did Scrappy’s family inflict on him that would cause such a change? Almost certainly … nothing. They loved Scrappy dearly, and sincerely tried to work things out so he could remain a part of their family. His behavior around the family was fine. But when extended family and friends came over he transformed into something unrecognizable, barking and growling at the “dangerous” new people in their midst. They sought professional help but were unable to alter Scrap’s behavior. Reluctantly, they brought him back to HB.


So what happened? It’s hard to say. But I suspect that Scrappy is the kind of dog that needs to feel that his humans are in charge, otherwise he feels obligated to be the leader and protect them from the many dangers lurking all around. Since dogs are typically not adept at playing this role they become overly stressed, and, well, mentally ill in a way. When Scrappy came back to us he was tense. His eyes were different, a bit harder than they were before. It didn’t help that he stared … hard and long. That’s a little unusual for a dog as it’s very rude behavior in canine culture. A few of  the dog walkers were nervous around him and made reference to his “demon eyes”. Scrappy wasn’t going anywhere without an intervention so he came to stay in the kennels at my house.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Scrappy’s story … coming soon.





  1. Lucky Scrappy and lucky you. Love your blog…you got me. Come see me & Brodie who is a golden retriever who loves to blog on political satire.


  2. […] is the 3rd installment of Scrappy’s Story. In Part 1: Descent I explained what brought Scrappy to my house for work on some issues. Part 2: Recovery described […]


  3. Can’t believe those boneheads thought that he needed to be euthanized! Sounds like he’s very fortunate to have you, you obviously know him well and understand what he needs. Your post is very inspiring. Can’t wait for part 2.


    1. Thank you. I’m glad you liked Scrappy’s story.


  4. Jana

    Great story on Scrappy! I am happy he feels so safe with you. Rob, you are a great dog-father!


    1. Jana, thanks very much.


  5. Linda Goulet

    Loved your story about Scrappy, Rob. I’ve always been fortunate that he likes me. It was good to see him today. You have done so much for him. I’m sure he’s very grateful!


    1. Thank you Linda, for your very kind comments.


  6. Part 2, Part 2, can’t wait…Scrappy is the best!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’ll be happy to know that his girlfriend thinks so highly of him.


  7. Hope Williams

    Looking forward to Scrappy’s second article. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It won’t be long!


  8. Cindy Towne

    This is so interesting to me. I’m curious about dog behavior and anxious to hear the rest of Scrappy’s story. Your are a wonderful story teller Rob.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You are very kind.


  9. sargentmt

    So glad Scrappy and I are friends. I was a little worried more than
    Han once when those eyes stared me down in the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was relieved when he moved you out of mortal enemy status.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Aw- he looks so happy and gentle in the photos. I am just glad you guys got him before he was euthanized for no reason- what is wrong with people?:(

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it’s hard to imagine how someone could think this was a reasonable thing to do.Baffling.


  11. Hi Rob – Reading about Scrappy was like reading about our Ray. He displayed all those negative traits perfectly. Here we are now, almost 3 years later, and he is still a “work in progress” (suspect he may always be), but he’s the most lovable dog you can imagine. Keep up the excellent work. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, I figured you would be able to relate!


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